Stronger Gregson learns hard way

ATHLETICS

Bulli Olympian Ryan Gregson will take a stronger mind and body into next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after learning some tough lessons from last year's London Olympics.

Gregson, Australia's fastest ever man over the mile, finished last in the 1500m semi-finals in London and said a desire to put the performance behind him led him to push his body beyond its limits in the ensuing 2013 season.

"I had a bit of a down year," Gregson said.

"I was so determined to get back in 2013 and do well just because I was so disappointed at how the Olympics turned out.

"I was trying to move on as quick as possible and that probably led to a few issues because I was so eager to turn things around."

The post-Olympics season began well before a mystery virus laid him low for the remainder of the year.

"I broke the Australian record indoors in New York in February and had a few good performances in Australia," he said.

"Things were looking very good and then I got crook at the start of April. I trained hard through it and ran myself down a bit.

"It was pretty much a write-off for the rest of the season because I needed time off to recover from it. I'm still recovering from it now but I'll be right in a few weeks to start up again before the Commonwealth Games."

At 23, Gregson has learned from the hard knocks and said he'll be better prepared to deal with the ups and downs leading into the Commonwealth Games trials in Melbourne in April.

"Every year's a new opportunity," he said.

"I'm 23 and I plan on doing this sport for another 10 years so I'm sure I'm going to have many bad years and some good years as well.

"There's always going to be setbacks but each year I'll be fronting up for the next championships.

"I've had a bit of bad luck but I'm looking forward to turning it around and getting right for the Commonwealth Games."

What Gregson has taken from his London disappointment is a confidence that he'll be in the mix come Rio in 2016.

"I learned that on my good day, I'm not too far away," he said.

"On my good day I am as good as everyone else but it's about trying to have that good day on the big stage. I've been really good a few times in my career but now it's about trying to be more consistent."

Gregson's immediate goal is to medal in Glasgow, after a stress fracture denied him a chance in Delhi four years ago.

"I'm definitely aiming for a medal," he said.

"Four years ago I was one of the favourites to win and then I had a stress fracture in my foot three weeks before the games started, which was disappointing.

"As an Australian, winning the Commonwealth Games is really important, nearly as important as the Olympics.

"If I was there and in a good shape I think a medal is definitely possible."

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